An inside look into schools returning for in-person classes

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's the start of a different school year, many would call it "strange," to say the least.

Students in kindergarten through eighth grades within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia schools are returning to class in-person. For students at Saints Peter and Paul School in West Chester, school began last Wednesday.

"Being in a classroom six feet apart, staying at your desks, having sneeze guards, it was different but the second day was much better," said principal Veronica Chandler. "I can just see that everybody - the faculty, the staff, the children - were more relaxed on the second day."

Chandler gave Action News an inside tour, showing the plexiglass partitions in each classroom, the social distancing markers on the ground and the technology for kids opting to learn from home.

"They get their temperature check, they use hand sanitizer and they go down to their classroom," said Chandler, describing the entry process for each school day.

Parent Amy Walls said her 7th-grade daughter loves being back in person.

"Last year was like really difficult," said Walls. "Like she never thought she'd say that but she was like, 'I really want to go back to school.'"

At Ad Prima Charter School in Overbrook, the first two weeks of school have been all virtual, meant to resolve any technical issues and create a backup plan in case of an outbreak.

"Let's say the governor or the mayor says all schools need to be closed," said principal David Brown. "(Then) we're able to revert without any disruption."

Staff are still gearing up for kindergarten and first grade to return in person next Monday. Each student will have a bin at their desk so student items don't cross-contaminate, there are six feet markers on the ground and the school bought more than 50 laptops for students to use when they return to the classrooms.

"Students are going to have to work directly from laptops in order to go and submit their work because they're not able to go and hand a piece of paper to the teacher," said Brown.
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